— Shirley Booth and Riley P., Anniston
A: In answer to your question about parasite control products, I will say that generally I am a fan of the combination external/internal preventatives. The only one that I prescribe that has a labeling for ticks is Revolution and it is only approved for prevention of the brown dog tick. Therefore, I find that a patient that has high exposure to tick-infested environments needs supplemental tick prevention such as a Preventic collar, or another topical tick prevention product.
There are two relatively new flea and tick topical products which have broader tick prevention labeling. Activl Plus contains permethrin, which is quite effective against ticks in general, and Frontline Tritac which claims to detach ticks shortly after application and is effective against five different tick species. Both treatments are effective for a month, and would require a separate monthly heartworm preventative, and there are several products with high efficacy for this. The primary concern with mosquitoes is the prevention of heartworm disease.
As to your particular environment, some wooded areas can have a higher density of fleas and ticks, but so can some more open grassy areas.
— Dr. Woody Leonard, Town and Country Veterinary Hospital
Q: I have an 8-month-old female miniature Australian shepherd who is very hyper. Is there anything we can do to calm her down?
— Renee Pickette and Sadie, Anniston
A: Any behavior problems usually have a complex answer.
First Australian shepherds tend to be hyper dogs due to them being bred to work. Herding requires a lot of energy. The second problem is that we are still in the puppy stage where they are more active anyway. Puppies — just like kids — need structure in their lives, along with plenty of exercise. A set eating and exercise schedule can help a lot.
Sadie is at a stage where this problem is fixable, but she very well may need some professional help. There are several trainers in our area that can help you. Also several of the pet stores in our area offer classes. Most of the time behavior problems are much easier to handle with professional help rather than a do-it-yourself approach.
A link to a good website with lots of behavior information as well as good veterinary medical advice is www.veterinarypartner.com. Search "Wild Behavior: How to Help Your Dog Settle Down."
—Dr. Eric Clanton, Clanton Animal Clinic